Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Fewer Wrinkles, Less Bullshit

I must be weak today. I've watched this two or three times and it cracks me up every time.

Mainly, I wanna know: How did they DO that?

By the 'national treasure', Operation Maple.

ADDED: They are 'brand name for bottled water babies'. Can you spell naive backwards? Bunch of vids.

Operation Maple waaay funnier. Of course, they don't have a profit to make.

'Asking for It', Revolutionary Style

On March 9, 2011, after Mubarak had resigned and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had taken over, Tahrir Square, still occupied by activists, was raided by the military. Many were arrested, detained, and some were beaten and tortured.

Among them were 17 women. After their release they claimed they had also been subjected to 'virginity tests'. They were threatened with prostitution charges if they 'failed'. SCAF said it would investigate the claims.

We know how that usually goes.

Today CNN is breaking a story on a SCAF officer who confirms the allegations but with a bizarre justification (bold mine).
A senior Egyptian general admits that "virginity checks" were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities.

The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

At that time, Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or "virginity tests."

But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine," the general said. "These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs)."

The general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn't later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities.

Here is the Amnesty International report, which demands justice for the abused.
“This admission is an utterly perverse justification of a degrading form of abuse,” said Amnesty International. “The women were subjected to nothing less than torture.”

Okey-dokey then. Shorter SCAF: 'To make sure you don't accuse us of rape, we'll rape you. And besides, you're all sluts anyway.'

Follow developments and reactions on Twitter: #virginitygate and #virginitytests.

Here's some of what people are saying.

Maddinya: "Women who fight power are asking to be raped." - SCAF #Egypt #genderME #jan25 #PIGS #virginitygate

Mona Eltahawy: When the "State" sexually violates women, it gives green light for all to violate. #virginitygate #Egypt

Oh. Look. SCAF dismisses the report.

(DJ!'s previous post on how the Arab Spring is treating women.)

Dear Mayor Watson,

About that *Respect for Life But Only If You're Pre-Born* proclamation ...

@Momforchoice tweeted. She linked to a kick-ass letter from Joyce Arthur, the executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. It reads in part:
We are writing now to request that you please refrain from issuing any “Respect for Life” proclamation in the future, on the basis that they fail to meet the criteria in your Policy. The proclamation contradicts your policy in two fundamental ways: 1. It endorses discrimination against women via the removal of their constitutional rights (and arguably promotes hatred against women), and 2. It is religiously motivated because it promotes a sectarian religious doctrine on abortion.
We note that your policy “emanates from the desire to uphold the intent and spirit of the Ontario Human Rights Code” – under which “sex” is a protected ground against discrimination. The “respect for life” that is promoted by this proclamation is disingenuous because it actually promotes discrimination against women. Its context refers to respect for fetal life at the expense of women’s lives, health, and rights. The goal of the anti-abortion movement is to restrict or re-criminalize abortion and force women to complete any and all pregnancies. But in Canada, women have constitutional rights under the Charter, while fetuses do not. Several Supreme Court of Canada rulings have said that fetuses cannot be persons, that a pregnant woman and her fetus are “physically one” person, and that all rights must accrue to the pregnant woman because she already has established constitutional and equality rights. (See for example: Dobson v. Dobson 1999 2 SCR 753; Tremblay v. Daigle 1989 2 SCR 530; and Winnipeg Child and Family Services v. D.F.G. 1997 3 SCR 925.) Therefore, it is not possible to give rights to fetuses without severely compromising the rights of pregnant women. This also means that laws that restrict abortion discriminate against women, and that calls to pass such laws promote discrimination.
Read the whole thing, it is a splendid tonic against the ShrieeeeeK!!!

A tiny chink in the armour of the World Order?

It's not much, but hopefully along with the DSK case, it's a good start.

Another entitled, jet-setting purported sexual predator has been detained by the NYC police, allegedly for sexually abusing a female employee at an expensive and exclusive hotel.
A businessman and former chairman of a major Egyptian bank faces charges of sexually abusing a maid at a luxury Manhattan hotel, just weeks after the arrest of a former International Monetary Fund chief on similar allegations.

Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar was arrested on Monday and is accused of sexually abusing the maid at The Pierre, a luxurious hotel near Central Park and Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, police said.

The maid was called to Omar's room Sunday night to drop off tissues, police said. But once inside the 74-year-old's room, police said Omar would not let her leave and touched her inappropriately. The encounter was not reported until Monday, police said.

Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, said detectives found the complainant to be credible.
Could this event as well as *L'affaire DSK* be another manifestation of the rise and resurgence of le contre-pouvoir? From here:
In the 1990s, it took a lot of effort for the French justice system to develop the required tools that allowed it to investigate major financial crimes, hiding behind the illegal financing of political activities, as well as corruption in elected officials and the fraudulous accounts of important organizations.

But in the last decade, political power backed by economic power, has killed the emancipatory desire for justice that set out to recalibrate the balance of power in the Republic, democracy and the *elites*.

That elitist World Order is the one that Dubya's shadowy manipulators have established, and which sycophants like Contempt Party leader SHitehead continue to support. The new oligarchy, to which Stevie Spiteful aspires, has become the same-old aristocracy.

This piece illustrates well the multiple sins of DSK.
Let’s consider how the housekeeper from Guinea ended up here in New York. In 2002, this single mother was granted asylum. What drove her here?

It began with the IMF rape of Guinea.

In 2002, the International Monetary Fund cut off capital inflows to this West African nation. Without the blessing of the International Monetary Fund, Guinea, which has up to half the world’s raw material for aluminum, plus oil, uranium, diamonds and gold, could not borrow a dime to develop these resources.

The IMF’s cut-off was, in effect, a foreclosure, and the nation choked and starved while sitting on its astonishing mineral wealth. As in the sub-prime mortgage foreclosures we see today, the IMF moved quickly to seize Guinea’s property.

But the IMF did not seize this nation’s riches for itself. Rather, it forced Guinea to sell off its resources to foreign corporations at prices much like the sale of furniture on the lawn of a foreclosed house.
No wonder the IMF, Koch Industries and China are doing their best to dismantle and outlaw unions, the last recourse of the disenfranchised and the contre-pouvoir.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Toronto G20: The Gift That Just Keeps Giving

Doncha just lurve this 'fiscally responsible' Contempt Party Government®? Looky here at what the CBC found.
Police officers from forces outside the Greater Toronto Area brought in to work at last summer's G8 and G20 summits made millions of dollars through lucrative contracts paying them overtime and vacation rates, according to newly released RCMP documents.

CBC/Radio-Canada has obtained copies of RCMP contracts totalling $7 million for the hiring of 657 officers from 17 different local forces from coast to coast. The invoices detail how over the course of a week or two in June 2010, more than half of all the work performed by those officers was paid for at premium rates of 1½ or two times an officer's usual wages.

Many more such goodies to come, I trust.

Meanwhile, the Star is still waxing indignant about the third attempt at a SIU investigation and is calling for an inquiry into the whole schmozzle.
Only a broad public inquiry, with the power to compel evidence under oath, can cut through the finger-pointing and obfuscation surrounding this fiasco. Its mandate should include looking at why Prime Minister Stephen Harper insisted on holding the G20 in Toronto in the first place. It should examine Premier Dalton McGuinty’s ill-judged decision to grant police enhanced powers of arrest without properly informing the public. And it should look into the policies and conduct of police commanders and their forces.

And while we're on the subject of calling for inquiries, what the hell happened to Saturday's rally that I blogged here?

Sweetie and I turned our butts out and found that DesiFEST had taken over Dundas Square.

We looked around for potential ralliers and saw a clutch of about seven people and a camera-guy. Could have inquired, I suppose, but instead thought 'Fukkit' and left.

Came home to check the info. Yep. Saturday, May 28, 2011, 2 to 5 p.m., Yonge and Dundas Square.

I left a WTF? comment on the Facebook page. Looked again a little while later and it had been deleted.

As they say: EPIC FAIL.

And no explanation or apology anywhere that I can find.

My apologies to DJ! readers who also tried to attend.

On the bright side, DesiFEST looked like fun. Sure smelled good. But sweetie and I had rearranged our lives to attend the protest bunfest and decided to carry on.

Two Population Problems. . .

. . . same solution. Heed the patriarchal church and control the women.

In Russia.
MOSCOW -- Russia's Orthodox Church teamed with Conservative parliamentarians Monday to push legislation that would radically restrict abortions in a nation struggling to cope with one of the world's lowest birthrates.

The legislation would ban free abortions at government-run clinics and prohibit the sale of the morning-after pill without a prescription, said Yelena Mizulina, who heads a parliamentary committee on families, women and children.

She added that abortion for a married woman would also require the permission of her spouse, while teenage girls would need their parents' consent. If the legislation is passed, a week's waiting period would also be introduced so women could consider their decision to terminate their pregnancy, Mizulina said.

In the Philippines.
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate is expected to start plenary debates on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill next week.

Senate committee on health and demography chair Pia Cayetano said that she is now fine-tuning the committee report and would have it ready for debates by next week.

A separate bill on the protection of the unborn child filed by a number of senators, including those who are against the RH bill, is seen by some quarters as counterweight to the controversial measure.

The committee on youth, women and family relations, also chaired by Cayetano, conducted a public hearing on the protection of the unborn child bill yesterday.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, a staunch critic of the RH bill and one of the authors of the protection of the unborn child bill, argued that the RH bill should remove the provisions on the promotion and distribution of contraceptives by the government.

“It was revealed that a significant number of these contraceptives are abortifacients,” Sotto said after yesterday’s hearing.

He noted that even the so-called morning after pill, considered by many as abortifacient, may be purchased over-the-counter in spite of the claims of authorities to the contrary. Sotto reiterated that abortion is unconstitutional.

The Philippines has a serious population and poverty problem.
With an estimated population of about 94 million people, the Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas.

The government has been wrangling over a reproductive health policy for nine years. But the Catlick Church has been stomping its tiny feet and nixing all attempts at rationality. It is opposed to all contraception, despite the people's overwhelming support for it.

But, hey, that's what patriarchal religion does.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be Gender-Specific

When the Arab Spring began, I started following on Twitter several reporters and journalists -- many of them Arabs of various nations -- covering the news.

I've continued following most of them, including the wonderful Egyptian-American writer Mona Eltahawy. She retweets a lot and today she is retweeting a series from Leil-Zahra Mortada, who witnessed an outrageous act of, sadly, not at all unusual sexual street harassment of women in Egypt. Here's the story from another source.

The outrage stems from the occasion and the victim's identity. She is iconic actress Sherihan, who has been a part of the uprising all along. (Photos here if you're curious.)

The occasion was another demonstration in Tahrir Square yesterday. Islamists had said they would not participate, so people were anticipating a secular, progressive event.


If you haven't been following events in Egypt, you might think things are all rosy there. They're not. The army has turned out to be not such great fans of revolution. People are being arrested and detained for demonstrating and speaking up. 'Thugs' beat and harass people.

Progressives and the young people who started all this are pissed. Women in particular are pissed.

Hence, further demonstrations. Which the authorities are obviously trying to quell.

The assault did not happen in Tahrir Square but after Sherihan left. Leil-Zahra:
@monaeltahawy Plz spread, most Egyptian media is trying to taint Tahrir saying all happened in the square during the protest.

Tweeps are saying it was not the 'usual' sexual street harassment. Sherihan says she doesn't know who the men were, but calls them 'thugs'.

When Lara Logan was assaulted, the western media was alllll over it. And, of course, the usual nutbars got all shrieeky with their knee-jerk Muslim bashing and simultaneous 'Where are the feminists?' schtick. With the added frisson of victim-blaming, as in 'Well, what did a good looking blonde broad expect?'

I just searched for 'Sherihan' at Google News. This is what I got: *crickets*. (BTW, Sherihan is a pretty stunning looking brunette, i.e. media fodder.)

So, I'm a feminist and I'm here and I'm pissed. This reminds me of my young feminist/anti-war activist self. Just as now in Egypt and elsewhere, women were being told: 'Let's just get this war stopped/democracy going and then we'll get to your [teensy] concerns.'

Egyptian women are being targetted and used. They bloody well know it and are not going to stand for it. Here's Eltahawy again in a recent interview with Amy Goodman discussing Logan's experience.
You know, myself and every Egyptian woman I know have been subjected to groping or other kinds of street sexual harassment.
. . .
And, you know, what happened when Tahrir Square was opened was, those who didn’t join the revolution came out to Tahrir Square. So this kind of utopian atmosphere we had in Tahrir Square, you know, was ruined by people who came either from the Mubarak regime supporters or others who were not part of the revolution. So, women in Egypt and their male allies recognize that the revolution must continue not just politically, but also culturally and socially, as a way of ensuring that women’s rights do not disappear just because the Mubarak regime has been toppled and that women must continue this fight, along with their male allies.

Gonna be a long fight. But I'm counting on the courage and persistence of the people of the Arab Spring to get it done.

ADDED: Info (mostly Arabic) is being pooled on this Facebook page.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

How Meta Can This Get?

When I blogged about the reactions to The Onion's story on a new 'abortionplex', I included a link to a blogger who had collected some of the funnier and/or sadder ones.

Now, someone has created a site devoted to whacky Facebook responses to Onion stories, called Literally Unbelievable.

The Intertoobz, as we all know, is a great place to express outrage. And Literally Unbelievable has already in its short life gotten up somebody's nose.
"This "Literally Unbelievable" Tumblr irks me no end," writes Navneet Alang on Twitter. "Elitism masquerading as internet hipsterism."

So how long until someone sets up a Tumblr to record these posts?

Doncha just lurve the Intertoobz?

Lying Contempt Party and its Ministers, Second Verse

Same as the first.

I just caught on Radio Canada, Contempt Party leader's justification for his and Cashmere Tony's VIP road trip to Europe.

SHitehead said that he brought him along to observe first hand how bad things are in Greece, to make him feel better when, as his Treasury Board Stooge Minister, Tony inflicts deep and permanently damaging cuts to federal programs.

It's worth reading Dan Gardner on the Contempt Party's past and current priorities, here. A reality check, one might say.

Meanwhile, while Stevie and Tony have their Big Adventure, some of the Cons are communing with other Cons at this event.

So far media coverage has not been particularly flattering towards Timmy; Radio-Canada and other news-gathering organizations refer to him as "a Mike Harris in short-pants".

*Change-book*? How lame is that?

Feeling IMF'd

Via excellent econblogger Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism, a hilarious song from a US parody group:

This is actually from this song (the lip sync is funny but that is not the singer...):

Friday, 27 May 2011

Would-Be Assassin Foiled

By his own trigger-happiness.

Ralph Lang, 63, of Marshfield, was staying at a Motel 6 when his .38-caliber handgun discharged into an unoccupied room across the hall, according to the federal criminal complaint. Madison police were called after Lang told a motel clerk that the gun went off, and he was worried that the bullet might have hit someone.

Lang, who was arrested for reckless endangerment, told police that he had a gun "to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies," the complaint said.
. . . .
In Lang's motel room, officers found a U.S. map with dots in each state and handwritten words above the northern U.S. border that said "some abortion centers," the complaint said. Also written on the map were the words "Blessed Virgin Mary says Hell awaits any woman having an abortion. Nurse or doctor who helps will one (sic)."

Worried that he was going to shoot somebody ^NOT an abortion provider. Good citizen, eh?

Fetus fetishists are scuttling backwards expressing shock, SHOCK I tell you.

I wanna know more about his enablers associates.

More details on Lang's not-too-swift plan.

And They're Off!

So it begins.
Ontario’s Knights of Columbus are joining Knights from across Canada in an effort to bring forward a bill in Parliament that would enshrine full protections for children in the womb.

At their 108th Ontario State Convention in Toronto on May 22nd, the Ontario Knights unanimously passed a resolution “to work with a Member of Parliament to introduce a Parliamentary Bill seeking the restoration of full legal protection for the lives of the unborn.”

The organization claims to have 1.8 million members worldwide.

It's gonna be a long four years.

Maybe we should do a Canadian version of this great fundraising effort for Planned Parenthood to raise dough to fight the fetus fetishists up here.

Lying Contempt Party and its Ministers

When was the last time you saw a recruitment ad on television for the Canadian Armed Forces? This one for example:

Did that get you all teary-eyed and choked-up, thinking about our military women and men are there for Canadians during catastrophic situations?

Fight Distress! Fight Chaos!

Like everything else the Contempt Party proclaims, the above is a crock.

The adulterer Vic Toews, shot down expectations that military resources can be deployed to alleviate the distress and chaos caused by flooding in the Montérégie.
The government letter signed by Toews [...] the services you're asking for -- if they were authorized -- would place the Canadian Forces in competition with the private sector, at the local or provincial level, which could perform this type of repair work."
Shouldn't SHitehead's Stooge Minister of Disinformation stop pretending that our Canadian troops have any use other than getting shipped overseas to get slaughtered in support of multinational corporate interests?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Another G20 Rally *sigh*

Feet on street time again.

In the comments here on the third SIU attempt to identify one of the G20 cop/thugs, Kev lets us know about the rally on Saturday.
A public inquiry into Toronto G20 and police accountability rally -- Saturday

The deets:
Toronto rally
Saturday May 28, 2011
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Yonge and Dundas Square
Facebook page

I'll be there.

Pure Viciousness

In a burst of misplaced optimism, this piece at RH Reality Check is titled Sanity Prevails in Oklahoma.
In a sign that--perhaps, maybe--the extreme right's extremist attacks on the rights and health of women and children may have some limits, the Oklahoma legislature today allowed a bill to die in committee which, if passed, would have denied food vouchers and nutrition services to prenatal and pediatric clients served by Planned Parenthood of Tulsa County.

Huh? Food vouchers and nutrition services? How do they figure?

Read the story. It absolutely nauseating. In their orgy of defunding anything that has to do with abortion and/or Planned Parenthood, Tea Baggers fixed on a program called Women Infants and Children that provides dough for food for at-risk, i.e. poor families. The Baggers then discovered it would have defunded ALL organizations that participate in it.

They wrastled around with language to cut PP out while keeping the rest in.

An editorial in Tulsa World explains (bold mine).
Here's the crux of the matter: In kicking Planned Parenthood out of the WIC program, lawmakers won't be punishing Planned Parenthood. They'll be punishing poor women who chose to have their babies and are trying to take care of them. What kind of sense does that make?

If Planned Parenthood is banned from providing WIC services, then the 9,300 clients of that program currently served by Planned Parenthood will have to try to obtain the nutrition services elsewhere. For a mother of limited means, that could prove an extreme hardship and could mean some will have to drop out of the program.

In Tulsa, Planned Parenthood last year also provided about 5,600 pediatric care appointments and about 3,000 prenatal visits, among other primary health services it provides. Some of those contacts were with the same women and children currently receiving WIC through Planned Parenthood. Why not make their lives a little easier by letting them continue to receive all those services in one place?

Here's why: Because the foes of Planned Parenthood can win political points by saying, "We kicked Planned Parenthood out of WIC." The fact poor mothers and babies would be made to suffer as a result is an inconsequential by-product that doesn't matter to them.

I wouldn't call letting that bill die 'sanity'. I'd call it a step back from gratuitous cruelty.

Third Time the Charm?

Here we go again.
For a third time the SIU will probe the alleged G20 beating of Dorian Barton.

The case was reopened after the Toronto Police Service agreed to give the unit the name of the person who identified the subject officer who is alleged to have stuck Barton, who suffered a broken arm and severe bruising.

"In anticipation of the timely receipt of this new information, the unit is re-opening the Barton investigation," SIU director Ian Scott said Thursday, adding the service came forward with the information on Wednesday.

Oh, yeah?

We'll believe it when we see it.

Nice Little Blog We Got Here. . .

The Tech Gods are still toying with deBeauxOs. Blogger's 'known issue' post about logging-in and commenting problems hasn't been updated since Tuesday.

In the comments here, Orwell's Bastard says that he backs his blog up using Tumblr.

dBO and I are discussing backing DJ! up. ('WHAT?' I hear some of you shrieeeeking, 'you don't back up your blog???!!?' Um. No.)

I found this info on how to use Blogger's tool to backup. But it's from 2009 and there might be better (read 'easier') ways to do it.

So, blogosphere, any advice for the hard-of-teching here at DJ?

Something horrible

I just learned something horrible about US health care. Now, I have been living it for the past several years, and I know quite a bit about how horrifically stupid the payment system is. Practically every US resident has had at least a minor experience of inconvenience that is incomprehensible to most Canadians. But I just learned from someone something that takes the cake and that I never realized.

OK, so, I always knew that American health care providers, no matter how compassionate, practice wallet-based care. Even the ones who give pro bono care at charity institutions are doing so in the knowledge that they are forgoing payment---and give care only to the very poorest.

So, fine, *sigh*, that is health care kepitalism for you. If you're the uninsured working lower class, you're pretty much screwed. I don't like it, it's inhumane and absurd, but that's what falls out of the belief system that underlies it.

But here's where it gets weird---for people who are lucky enough to have employer-sponsored insurance.

To control costs, US private insurers have special deals with certain family doctors and specialists. The big ones, with a very large number of them. This is called an insurer's "network". Under normal circumstances, this actually works out not all that differently from, say, OHIP (or substitute your province's plan) plus a user fee. If you go to an "in-network" doctor, you show the card, pay a (relatively) small user fee, and you see the doctor or have surgery or whatever. The insurers act like OHIP/whatever in this case and negotiate lower rates for themselves in exchange for driving business to these doctors. So you have to do some due diligence to make sure that you go to an "in-network" doctor. A US insurer is, in theory, like a sort of decentralised provincial provider.

But if you go to an "out-of-network" doctor without insurer-negotiated fees, you either bear the full cost yourself, or many plans pay out 80% and make you pay 20% of that doctor's fee in order to discourage "out-of-network" use. OK, so far so good, you can avoid these doctors. (Actually, many people---Americans---don't realize...)

Or can you? Say you're having surgery. That can involve a bunch of medical professionals. So, you show up, talk to your surgeon's assistant, find out that s/he is "in-network", and get onto the operating table. And it's all good. Right?


Quite a few of those professionals, you see, may NOT actually be "in-network." Particularly anaesthetists and pathologists and so on---the latter you might not meet or know is treating you. Oh, they may be working in the hospital or clinic. But they all bill separately.

So, a few months later, you could find a nasty surprise: a bill from your anaesthetist. And guess what. Being "out-of-network", the anaesthetist or whatever can bill whatever they want, and your insurance can pay either 0% or 80% or whatever. But of course, the anaesthetist has no incentive not to bill thousands of dollars for a half-hour's worth of work.

And despite the fact that you had no idea, you are now in potentially unexpected debt-peonage to an anaesthetist---since medical bankruptcy has been made very difficult.

But, it gets worse. Billing errors abound. What if, say, your "in-network" doctor fails to keep his/her registration with the insurer current. Then the insurer won't pay the full-amount. So, you'd imagine, this is the doctor's responsibility, since s/he made the error, right?


It's your job to pay the entire bill, or the portion that the insurer won't pay for "out-of-network" costs. Even though it was the doctor's billing error.

THAT is why people who tell you that medical care should be subject to the "free" "market" should be put in the stocks for months. Not just the inhumanity of the idea---that is ideology---but the inherent lying and fraud involved. That is also why the doctors (specialists) are greatly at fault in the US system, not just the insurers. Because doctors can choose to put their patients into debt-peonage.

I had no idea until someone explained it to me, and apparently many Americans born and raised here have no idea either. You're screwed despite the fact that you have good insurance. So you can do everything right and still be wrong.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Coming War on Canadian Women

I went to get my teeth cleaned yesterday. Same hygienist for decades. Nice woman, not terribly political but good heart and instincts. We talked a bit about the appalling election.

I said something like: 'Now that the ReformaTories have a majority, they'll start to behave like the Tea Bagger Rethuglicans in the US. We can look forward to MASSIVE attacks on the poor, sick, old, and especially, of course, women.

She hadn't heard anything about it. Not even the attempted complete defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Now, it's so bad down there that Kos is running a weekly roundup on the War on Women.

Today, at the federal level, the fetus fetishists came up with another genius stunt.
The House voted Wednesday to ban teaching health centers from using federal money to train doctors on how to perform abortions, the latest in a series of anti-abortion measures pushed by the Republican majority.

There are lotsa reasons for abortion. Some are life-and-death medical emergencies. Already, there are too few MDs trained in the various abortion procedures and now there will be even fewer?

Women will die.

But that's OK with the Fetus Lobby.

And lest we think that more mature countries are above this kind of insanity, look what's going on in the UK.
A group which is opposed to abortion in all circumstances and favours an abstinence-based approach to sex education has been appointed to advise the government on sexual health.

The Life organisation has been invited to join a new sexual health forum set up to replace the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV.

Stuart Cowie, Life's head of education, said: "We are delighted to be invited into the group, representing views that have not always been around on similar tables in the past."

In contrast, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has been omitted from the forum despite its long-term position on the previous advisory group and 40-year track record in providing pregnancy counselling nationwide.

"We are disappointed and troubled to learn that having initially been invited to the sexual health forum we have been disinvited, particularly now we understand that Life have been offered a seat at the table," said Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS. "We find it puzzling that the Department of Health would want a group that is opposed to abortion and provides no sexual health services on its sexual health forum."

Let the Fetus Lobby in and force the Sane People out.

Yo! Canadian women! Get this straight. Conservatives hate women.

Tech Gods Are Pissed at Humans

At the same time! Twitter is screwed up.

And so is Blogger.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We're investigating an issue which is preventing login and comment posting for some users, and hope to have a fix released shortly.

Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Yeeheehee. I seem to have the joint to myself. dBO can't log in and commenters can't comment.

Now, where's the liquor cabinet?

Look! A Kitten!

Blogger is giving deBeauxOs the vapours. (Kidding. Can you imagine dBO with the vapours?) In any event, she asked me to share this with DJ! readers.

The tar sands are like kittens, the winning entry in Greenpeace Canada's contest to culture jam noisome ads by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

I'm sure dBO will be along shortly to add some pithy remarks. When the Tech Gods stop fucking with her. They are sooooo gonna regret that.

SHRIEEEEK! Oh. Never mind.

The first tell was the source: the Onion. Next was the dateline: Topeka, Kansas (you remember, same rabidly fetus-fetishist state where Dr. Tiller was assassinated). Next the headline: Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex.

Sane and non-humour-impaired people would have twigged by now. Here's the third paragraph quoting PP's prez, Cecile Richards:
"Although we've traditionally dedicated 97 percent of our resources to other important services such as contraception distribution, cancer screening, and STD testing, this new complex allows us to devote our full attention to what has always been our true passion: abortion," said Richards, standing under a banner emblazoned with Planned Parenthood's new slogan, "No Life Is Sacred." "And since Congress voted to retain our federal funding, it's going to be that much easier for us to maximize the number of tiny, beating hearts we stop every day."

Totally typical Onion. Waaaaay over the top. Punching all the ff buttons. 900,000 square feet. 2,000 procedure rooms. Terminating one pregnancy every 3 seconds for a monthly total of 'almost a million'. Shuttle service from area schools.

There's even a floor plan, showing the location of various amenities, including an incinerator 'capable of cremating more than 40 tons of fetuses at a time'.

Given their proclivity to a bit of hyperbole themselves, it was inevitable that the fetus fetishists would fall for it.

Read some of their MASSIVELY OUTRAGED SHRIEEKS here.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Simply the Best.

Blogpost Title. Ever.

Hey, Globe&Mail, who's your daddy?

From Alison at Creekside, of course.

The content's pretty damned fine, too.

Abuse of power and authority in Ottawa.

Zoom at knitnut writes about this from a blogger's perspective, one who has been covering gratuitous police brutality in Ottawa for a while.

However, when I read the original news story something else emerged, as malign as unwarranted and illegal cop violence but symptomatic of a specific authoritarianism.
An Ottawa police officer who hit a 15-year-old boy in the head several times during an arrest in a darkened Rockcliffe Park Public School yard has been cleared of misconduct after a review concluded the constable used “accepted” standards for use of force. [...]
While the probe couldn’t figure out how many times McFadden hit the boy, it is known that the officer broke his left hand — the hand he used to strike the boy in the head.

The trouble began just before 10:30 on the night in question. There had been complaints about mischief at the school yard weeks earlier, so Ottawa police set up a four-officer surveillance team.

The team included two plainclothes officers, one of whom wore shorts and a backwards ballcap, a sergeant, and an officer positioned inside the school, which is known for educating the children of diplomats and politicians, including those of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. [my italics]
And there you have it. Just as the multiple disruptions of civil rights during the G-20 were the required trappings of Contempt Party leader's MASSIVE *security* show, so must this particular surveillance "incident" exonerate police officers of charges that unwarranted and brutal force was deployed. The conclusions of the Review Board were predictable, as with the official refusal by Toronto Police to investigate cops' criminal actions during the G20.

SHithead and his Con jobs found in the RCMP and now in municipal police forces their most compliant and eager bullies.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Shrieeekkk! Revenge of The Sperm!

Before John *Sperm Holocaust* Pacheco and Blog Blogging Wingnut can seize hold of this dispatch to award it The Fetus©™ fetishist gloss, I hurried here to post this charming little Monty Python Broadway-worthy production - which puts the cast of Glee to shame.

Take it away, "Every sperm is sacred"! Do sing along if you know the words.

I do hope SHE appreciates the French sub-titles.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Big Picture

Once more, go read Alison at Creekside: The North American-Made Energy Security Act to admire how she neatly connects all the dots.

So my question is: were the robocalls in support of Con candidates, for the purpose of MASSIVELY infuriating and mis-directing Canadian voters during the federal election funded by Koch Industries?

The calls came from a US location. Elections Canada has no jurisdiction or no mandate to investigate this form of illicit campaign contribution. Though the flurry of calls were fast and furious, and their purpose was to discourage electors from voting for anyone but the Contempt Party, it would be difficult to pin this disruptive tactic on them.

While the calls clearly targeted specific households in certain ridings - which makes one wonder who provided the robocallers with annotated Canadian electoral lists - where to start looking in order to make the connection between Koch Industries money, the undeclared contributions and the Contempt Party war-room?

Dear Toronto Police: We Are ^NOT Stupid

Shorter Rosie DiManno: Cops should STFU about members of certain communities failing to come forward, until some cop comes forward and IDs this one.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Spanish Revolution Update

Protest is growing in La Puerta del Sol in Madrid despite being told by an electoral commission that such activities are banned on the eve of an election.

There is an election looming between two main parties. The mainly young, mainly unemployed people don't care for either of them.

Does this sound familiar?
There is much talk on the plaza of electoral reform - to prevent power simply switching back and forth between two parties. Many also demand a ban on all candidates implicated in corruption.

Proposals for debate are posted in a suggestions box.

As at other people protests like Cairo's Tahrir Square and Madison, Wisconsin, things are being organized by the protesters themselves.

The camp in Sol now has its own tv station, called soltv.tv, which is live-streaming right now. (Warning: vuvuzelas.)

On twitter, one of the hashtags is #spanishrevolution. Some English, but mostly Spanish, natch.

As global corpocracy runs riot, we must get better at this. Watch and learn, fellow and sister Canucks.

ADDED: More insight. It's not as simple as it's being portrayed.

My Body, My Choice. . .

. . . unless you are an infant or minor boy whose parents' culture or religion requires circumcision.

Well, in whacky San Francisco, boys might have a choice.
Lloyd Schofield has come one step closer to achieving his mission to ban circumcision -- the surgical removal of the penile foreskin -- in the City by the Bay.

San Francisco city officials said Wednesday that Schofield had collected enough signatures -- more than 12,000 -- to put the measure on the city ballot in November 2011.

"The foreskin is there for a reason," said Schofield, who is retired from a career in the hotel industry. "It's not a birth defect. It serves an important function in a man's life, and nobody has a right to perform unnecessary surgery on another human being."

Schofield began researching circumcision several years ago and found a local group of "intactivists," people who believe that infant boys have the right to keep their foreskin intact. Together they created an advocacy group called the Prohibition of Genital Cutting of Male Minors. The ban would make it illegal to "circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years."

I got no dog in this race, but I think his argument equating the procedure with female genital mutilation is a bit much.

Nonetheless, this will be an interesting debate to watch. Because there are some powerful groups* who do have a dog in this race. (Bold mine.)
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and cædere (meaning "to cut"). Early depictions of circumcision are found in cave paintings and Ancient Egyptian tombs, though some pictures are open to interpretation. Religious male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism. In Islam, though not discussed in the Qur'an, male circumcision is widely practised and most often considered to be a sunnah. It is also customary in some Christian churches in Africa, including some Oriental Orthodox Churches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global estimates suggest that 30% of males are circumcised, of whom 68% are Muslim.

Could this be a uniting factor among/between usually unfriendly parties? As in Egypt, protesters could chant: 'Muslims, Christians, Jews, one, er, hand'.

*Interesting (NSFW) photos at the wiki link.

Compare and Contrast

Vancouver's Georgia Straight has a blog called *Blogra* where they've done the heavy lifting that the Globbin'Male won't do.

So it presents everything that you, the elector who didn't vote for the Contempt Party, needs to know about SHitehead's cabinet. For example, my virtual roomie's favourite, Cashmere Tony now President of the Treasury Board.
Globe: “He built a huge profile as the populist industry minister: protecting Canadian firms from multinational takeovers and consumers from excessive Internet bills.”

The unmentionable truth: Clement enraged producers and users of alternative medicine by introducing a bill to amend the Food and Drug Act, which would outlaw up to 60 percent of natural-health products on the market. Let's not even talk about the $50 million that went into his riding before the G8 and G20 summits.
There's more but not enough.

Every single one of Stevie Spiteful's bobble-heads in cabinet needs to have the real facts about his/her incompetence and propensity to do SHitehead's bidding exposed in public view. Peter Kent? Jim Flaherty?

How about MinJKenney? Now, there's a piece of work we've written much about and that a real journalist, if he or she had the backing of their news gathering organization, should investigate. I'd like to know how much tax-payer funded support his buddy Parm Gill received to advance his election campaign.

Spring Has Sprung

As regular readers may have noted, I really really really hate shopping.

And so the season changes, people start scrabbling around in closets and drawers to find something appropriate to wear.

Well, after my eviction and return -- two moves within nine months -- I developed a savage ruthlessness about stuff.

It appears that savagery and material aging have conspired to result in my whine to Sweetie: 'I hate all my clothes'. (Sweetie winced and backed slowly out of the room.)

Old fave shirts are too ratty -- even for me -- to wear. Mysterious stains in inconvenient places have appeared. And so on.

I gotta go shopping. (Look at opening line again.)

Time was, when I was younger and the world was saner, I'd grit teeth and venture into some store where I'd struck lucky before. Find something I could afford in the size that had worked before and -- deep breath -- hit the changing rooms.

Because if there's one retail experience worse than shopping, it is returning something.

It started in the 80s. There was a brand of workplace-acceptable pants that fit me well enough. I took a size 6. Went back sometime later and size 6 was enormous. Tried a 4. Still roomy but OK. Weird, I thought, I'm not shrinking. . .

Next time, went for the 4. Too big. Tried a 2. Fit OK. Moi: What's next? Zero?

Yup. Welcome to vanity sizing.

The theory is that as our shapes or weights change, women don't like to admit it, so designers accommodate our 'vanity' by making sizes larger.

It has been studied:
In one of Kinley’s studies, researchers measured 1,000 pairs of women’s pants and found as much as an 8½-inch variation in the size-4 waist.

Every woman knows this.

But now matters are more dire. I haven't bought clothes for so long, I have no idea where to start. Plus, my body has changed. I'm pretty sure I'm not a 2 anymore.

The S-M-L (and now XL and XXL) system used to work for casual clothes. I took S, but then the cuts got skimpy (you do not want to look at my belly) so I went up to M. And rolled the sleeves up about 5 turns.

Of course, you've cottoned on to what I'm doing here. There's a note in my agenda for Monday past. CLOTHES! Today is Friday and if I fuck around long enough with this blogpost and the innertoobz -- oh, gee, look at the time!

Or as Sweetie and I -- both freelancers -- put it: 'I'm in the procrastination stage of the project.'

And just now -- TELEPHONIC SERENDIPITY! Sweetie is in the nabe is and going to drop in for a cup of tea.


The comments are open for companionable bitching. Or suggestions.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Real Majority vs. Harper Majority

From Joyce Arthur of ARCC, 19 items we sane people can expect from the Harper Regime on Steroids (HROS) on the reproductive rights agenda. Plus her assessment of how likely they are to arise.

Private Member's Bills! Lots of PMBs! One as early as this fall, according to fetus fetishists. She lists the ones they've already tried -- and will try again. Then adds the innovations from the Excited States as possibilities: mandatory ultrasound, parental consent, mandatory counselling from religious Fake Clinics etc.

Next, defunding abortion. There are four gambits, all of which she rates as 'highly likely'.

Four ventures under defunding of reproductive health and rights, some of which -- like the inaction on the Planned Parenthood funding request are already being carried out.

Under Parliament, Senate, Supreme Court, and Legal Measures, there are five 'likely' moves and one unlikely one. Remember, SHithead's appointments could have a huge impact on the Supreme Court for years to come.

Finally, under public policy, she cites funding of research into abortion drugs or technologies, injecting anti-choice restrictions into all kinds of policy areas, and the influence of the as-yet mysterious Office of Religious Freedom.

As we know, the Fucking Useless Opposition® will be of no help to us. We'll have to remain vigilant, make alliances with other groups, pressure MPs who may be Con but not anti-choice.

Here's an interesting analysis of the 2011 vote, exploring where votes moved from and to.
CES [Canadian Election Study] data doesn’t show much evidence of widening and deepening of Conservative support over 2008; for example though they were hoping to improve their standing amongst women, there was still negative gender gap for the Conservative Party in 2011 though not quite as severe as before. In fact it was the NDP which improved its performance with men. The Conservatives also had a significant age gap, falling very behind amongst young people.

We need to let them know that women -- especially young women -- will NOT tolerate even minor infringements of our rights.

A kiss is just a kiss ...

unless it's a love bite.

From here. Thanks to WentRogue.

Apologies to Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Spain's Tahrir Square

From 'Arab Spring' to 'European Summer'? Specifically Spain. (Good background at the link.)
Spain’s people’s movement has finally awoken. La Puerta del Sol in Madrid is now the country’s Tahrir Square, and the "Arab Spring" has been joined by what is now bracing to become a long "European Summer." As people across the Arab world continue their popular struggle for justice, peace and democracy, Spain’s disillusioned citizens have finally caught on with full force. Slow at first, hopeful that Spain’s dire economic conditions would magically correct themselves, the Spanish street has finally understood that democratic and economic justice and peace will not come from the pulpits of the country’s corrupt political elite.

Demonstrators are calling it the May 15 Movement for the day it started. Organized by a self-proclaimed 'peace movement' called 'Democracia Real Ya' (literally 'Real Democracy Now'), protests spread across the country on May 17 to more than 50 cities and towns.

More pictures and videos here.

We Canadians might wanna take notes.

Tripoli Senate

Sorry. In light of current events, someone had to make the pun.

BUT! BUT! Jack Layton has no route to become PM in this Parliament. That makes it worth it, amirite? AMIRITE?

Two RWNJs shrieeek about Insite.

Yesterday someone asked on Twitter whether Windy Wente was really a columnist.

Our response was that some have presented evidence Mags is an accomplished plagiarist.

And now, Kay Mère steps forward, also clucking and flapping about Insite.

Who knew those two were twins, separated at birth yet both raised to become insufferable defenders of class entitlement and social privilege? They are classic examples of people who vote for the Contempt Party.

Mark my words, those two will next write anti-feminist screeds defending, fawning over the behaviour of Dominique Strauss-Kahn — with Mags helping herself to heaping sentences of glurge written elsewhere. Whereas Babs will proclaim the whole thing is proof of an international anti semitic plot, thus unwittingly allying herself with the loathsome Ann Coulter. (Click on the link, I'm not sending you to her tweet directly.)

The Country that brought you ...

*Liberté-Egalité-Fraternité* unless of course, you happen to be female, a recent immigrant from Africa, working in a fancy NYC hotel cleaning rooms and the alleged target of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's unwanted and unsollicited sexual rage.

Yes. France. And now this:
The Cannes Film Festival premiere of the Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver just ended, and [...] there was a 10-minute standing ovation for the film and its star, Mel Gibson.
Is it official then? In France, Mel Gibson has become the new Jerry Lewis? There's a weird logic there, one that escapes me at the moment though.

Ah. France does not have an extradition treaty with the US. That must be it.

But cheer up, we'll be inflicting this upon them: Creekside: The new face of Canadian diplomacy

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Pile-on Backlash (update)

Go read Rusty Idols: Pile-on Backlash.

The tide may have turned on Con attack jobs, even those facilitated by the so-called *liberal* media.

When the targets of scurrilous smears are regular, ordinary working class Canadians who don't ressemble Maxime *Empty Suit* Bernier, a shining example of an entitled and privileged member of the Contempt Party, people do get angry. For real.

As for the hacks doing the Cons' dirty work under the guise of balanced reporting, go fuck yourselves with splintery gardening implements.

In response to Beijing York's question, I found this:
An analysis by The Canadian Press of sponsored travel reports shows 172 MPs have taken 336 free trips over the last four years totalling $1.9 million. And that's on top of trips taken on government business.[...]

Two destinations topped the list: Taiwan and Israel, each with 68 sponsored trips.

The Taiwan trips were paid for by the Chinese International Economic Co-operation Association, a business and trade lobby organization.

The Canada-Israel Committee paid for the Israel trips. The group is active on Parliament Hill. Public filings with the lobbyist registry show 122 entries under the Canada-Israel Committee's name. Many of those meetings were with MPs who went on the group's junkets.

Fascism Is Simple

I had never heard of The Third Wave until yesterday when someone tweeted this link.
The Third Wave was an experiment to demonstrate that even democratic societies are not immune to the appeal of fascism. It was undertaken by history teacher Ron Jones with sophomore high school students attending his "Contemporary World" history class as part of a study of Nazi Germany. The experiment took place at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California, during the first week of April 1967. Jones, unable to explain to his students how the German population could claim ignorance of the extermination of the Jewish people, decided to show them instead. Jones started a movement called "The Third Wave" and told his students that the movement aimed to eliminate democracy.The idea that democracy emphasizes individuality was considered as a drawback of democracy, and Jones emphasized this main point of the movement in its motto: "Strength through discipline, strength through community, strength through action, strength through pride".

Ron Jones is quite a guy.

Here is a detailed account of the experiment, dated 1991, with comments from students who participated. It's chilling. (bold mine)
Although Jones says he would never repeat the Third Wave, he insists it could easily happen today, anywhere in the United States, for a variety of reasons.

"Fascism is always a possibility because it's so simple and people are frustrated. They lose their jobs, their dignity, their sense of worth, and someone comes along and says, "I've got the answer."

School systems prepare the ground, Jones says by using only standardized tests for success and failing to recognize alternative paths of learning, as well as a wider variety of individual achievements.

Educational institutions weed out troublemakers and those who are difficult to teach, he contends, rewarding placid students who want to succeed at any cost and will accept authority.

"That's the sad thing. Teachers can trigger it by telling students they're special, they're part of a community, that they can do special things. All they have to give is their loyalty," Jones concludes. "It happens every day in school, only the paraphernalia isn't there. Kids aren't learning to ask questions. You create a population where freedom's just a spelling word."

At the time the story caught the attention of Philip Zimbardo who a few years later conducted the (in)famous Stanford prison experiment.

Yeah, yeah, I'm just a paranoid pinko lefty trapped in a classroom city and country totally controlled by thugs and bullies.

(There's also a film and a TV movie.)

h/t sick jew

That one hit a nerve.

The leader of the #Contempt Party, the man at the helm of The New Harper Regime©™, does not like being held accountable for past, present or future actions. From here:
Stephen Harper is expected to move quickly to kill the per-vote taxpayer subsidies to political parties in an effort to kill the Liberal Party of Canada, according to a former colleague of the Prime Minister.

“Ever since his days at the [National Citizens Coalition], Stephen talked about eliminating the Liberals as a political force in Canada,” former NCC executive Gerry Nicholls said. “This was both for personal and tactical reasons. He didn’t like Liberals – he always viewed them as biased against Alberta.”
Guy Giorno, the man who is (?) the National Campaign Chairman for the Cons bitched on Twitter:
As a rule of thumb, anyone held out to media as an authority on Prime Minister's current thinking likely doesn't know it
This is very odd. The facts, as laid out in Taber's piece are correct. But it reveals what probably triggered one of Stevie Spiteful's legendary temper tantrums.

How dare Gerry Nicholls be considered an *authority* on SHithead by the media? That is one MASSIVE lèse-majesté.

Time to rewrite the words to this song, I think.

If you feel better. . .

Just over a week ago, a very dear friend had a stroke. The bleeding kind, not the blockage kind, as I and her friends and family are learning from daily email updates from her partner, J. Fifty per cent of people die in the first two days after one of these.

But still it's bad. She's in in ICU. Controlling blood pressure is a struggle and now there's a respiratory infection. J uses the word 'alert'. She's not much.

I can't do a thing for her. Her partner, a class A type if there ever was one, is with her and advocating for her. He's probably driving hospital staff nuts but M is lucky to have him there.

Not long ago, my sweetie/partner was in an ICU. Totally different cricumstances -- and less dire -- but I know something of what J is going through.

So I offered him help. Load of laundry, feed the cats, run errands. . .

The daily emails are hard to read. J is obviously processing a ton of information and trying to relay it straightforwardly. He's tired and repeats himself.

And he has to deal with her friends and family. I found these addenda to a recent update really moving.
PS Thanks for more offers of help. If I need help, I'll ask.
PPS Now might not be the time for cards as M won't appreciate them yet and the ICU isn't a place you can put anything up. If you feel better sending cards, then use our home address and I'll save them until the appropriate time. (M would have known what say on this topic and how to say it better. I hope I haven't botched this too badly.)

I think he said it brilliantly.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Are We Winning a Little?

An interesting and somewhat hopeful view of the election.
Since the economic crisis in 2008, Bay Street has craved a majority—either Liberal or Tory—to force through an austerity agenda, while ordinary people have wanted an alternative to Harper. These forces have ripped the Liberals apart: their right-wing base gave Harper his majority (endorsed by nearly every mainstream newspaper and media outlet in Canada), consolidating the corporate vote in one party, while those on the left ditched “strategic voting” and voted NDP.

Harper’s stronger regime in Parliament obscures the steady erosion of the combined Liberal/Tory vote as result of what has happened outside Parliament. In 2000, the combined corporate vote was 78 per cent. After the anti-capitalist mobilization against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Quebec City in 2001, the G8 protests in Calgary in 2002, and the historic demonstrations against the war in Iraq in 2003, the combined corporate vote fell even more: to 66 per cent in 2004 and 2006.

With growing anger over the war and the start of the economic crisis, it slipped down to 64 per cent in 2008. Now, after three years of austerity and growing resistance—from Egypt to Wisconsin—the combined corporate vote has fallen to 58.5 per cent. Meanwhile, Parliament’s disconnect from ordinary people led many to continue voting with their feet: despite a higher turnout than last election, it was still the third lowest in Canadian history—another reason why Harper has a majority without a mandate.

It goes on to cite successful mass movements here and elsewhere. Predictably, it calls for more organizing and more activism.

Well, heck, it made me feel (a little) better.

Natural welfare "queens"

The "Welfare Queen" moniker is an American meme with both racist and sexist components that was intended to arouse the ire of ordinary people against small-time free riders in order to distract from the long-standing effort to make it possible for big-time free riders to get away with robbing the American public blind.

What does this have to do with Canada?

We keep hearing that the "political center" of Canada is shifting Westward, and that Ontario's manufacturing economy is in the doldrums and that it is a have-not province. And we keep hearing that this is fuelling the political shift to the right. If so, this situation is merely confirmation of something we already knew: that right-wing populist politics is only possible in the presence of large-scale free riding. In this case, the free riding is on oil, oil, and more oil---because it no longer pays to be an actual entrepreneur in (foolishly) export-dependent Canada.

The Canadian right is all about being the true welfare "queens"*---the welfare "queens" of nature, of the dinosaur plants that died so long ago. Of course, it is always the case that we living things subsist on and affect the world in unpredictable ways; but we must never pretend that it is anything other than what it is.

Now if there's anything that will fracture the Reformatory crypto-coalition, it is that fact: will Ontario and the Rest-of-Canada (relative to resource extracting provinces) share in that welfare-"queendom"? I thought that was taboo.

*In reality, welfare "kings" more than anything else.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

They're Heeeeere!

On Twitter #prochoice, there was some crap from a crisis pregnancy center/centre, aka fake clinic, supporter. Ever helpful, I posted a link to stories from women who have been lied to, manipulated, guilt-tripped etc by such places. Crisis Pregnancy Center Watch is USian.

A Canadian tweep replied:
@Womanwhovotes Mary Pynenburg @fernhilldammit Could only read one - hope #cpc don't create cpc's here. I am pro abortion rights not anti abortion rights

Womanwhovotes is by no means alone in thinking that these evil outfits are exclusively USian.

Canada has them too.

While there are over 4,000 in the Excited States, we have about 200. Given that our size is about one-tenth that of the US, I suppose we should be grateful we don't have 400 of them, but still they are here preying on vulnerable women.

Here's one umbrella group boasting of supporting 71 fake clinics and developing 9 more (bold in original).
The Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS) is a national, non-political, registered Christian charity, committed to equipping pregnancy support services.

CAPSS, the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, was formed in 1997 as the fulfillment of a long-standing mission: "to help women and babies by encouraging and equipping pregnancy support centres across Canada."

CAPSS under girds 71 affiliate centres, and is presently assisting with the growth and development of another nine centres. Located in towns and cities across

Canada, these centres offer practical, material, emotional and spiritual assistance by helping women and their partners or significant other through distressing pregnancies.

Approved affiliation with CAPSS grants the option of dual or triple affiliation with CareNet and/or Heartbeat, with the related benefits of both organizations.

Google 'crisis pregnancy centre' and the name of any city in Canada and you'll find at least one. Go to page 1 of your Yellow Pages and you'll find two headings: 'Abortion Alternatives' and 'Abortion Services'.

Often, they are a stone's throw -- or less -- from a real abortion clinic as here in Toronto: Aid to Women at 300 Gerrard St. East, right next door to Cabbagetown Women's Clinic, 302 Gerrard St. East.

The terrific documentary 12th and Delaware follows activities at the two operations on opposite sides of the street.

The location is no accident. If they can't confuse women looking for the real clinic into dropping into their lie-lab, being nearby means they can pop out for a bit of slut-shaming/harassment on their lunch breaks.

Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada reported on fake clinics in BC a couple of years ago. (PDF here.)

Here are her recommendations for action:
* Stop deceptive advertising and false representations of CPCs in the media.

* Remove CPCs from referral lists used by the medical profession or social services.

* Ensure that the medical profession and social services have accurate information so they can refer women for abortion appropriately.

* Create more pro-choice counselling in communities, both options and post-abortion.

* Lobby governments and public foundations to stop funding CPCs.

* Ask Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charity status of CPCs that have it.

Yes, they get public and government money. And yes, they have charitable status.

So, have a little time on your hands now that Canadians have voted to turn themselves into Fox Nation North for at least the next four years? Here's a Facebook group for Calgary.